Things You Can See and Do at the Point Loma Tide Pools
There are a few places within Cabrillo to observe magnificent marine life trapped in the tide pools. The main area is near the new lighthouse, on the western edge of Point Loma. There’s a trail that meanders down from the parking lot to an ample rocky “beach.”
Another favorite spot for observing tide pools is further down the road, just before the sign for the wastewater treatment plant. A short trail leads down to several tide pools surrounded by cliffs. It’s important to walk carefully as these rocks tend to be slippery when wet. Also, remember that taking any rocks or plants, or throwing rocks into the water, is prohibited.
What makes the sea life in these unforgettable pools so special is that the animals aren’t simply floating aimlessly in the water. They interact with each other, hunting for food, attempting to hide behind unique plants and putting on an amazing show. Kids can’t get enough of the experience and adults who love nature also have an incredible time.
Great for Whale Watching
During wintertime Cabrillo National Monument park is a great place to look for the migrating grey whales on their way to Mexico from Alaska. They are pregnant and on their way to have their babies in the warm, shallow waters off of Baja California.
Bring your Camera
Photography is a popular way to spend hours at the Point Loma Tide Pools. There is a constantly changing background of rock formations to photograph in addition to opportunities for macro pictures of tiny sea creatures. Every shot is different depending on the tide, time of day, weather, wind direction, lighting conditions, and other factors. Adventurous photographers can find incredible inspiration with so many sandstone bluffs and cliffs jutting into the white waters.
Cabrillo National Monument is only open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., so you have to plan trips between those hours. The specific time for low tide changes on a daily basis, so it’s a good idea to check a tide chart website or phone app to see the perfect time to go.